‘Going under’ and ‘coming to’ follow different paths

Galtier-Boissière (Larousse Medical Illustré, Paris, 1912) [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Despite their widespread use in surgical procedures, it is not clearly understood how anesthetics affect the central nervous system (CNS). It is generally believed that induction of anesthesia results from drug-induced modification of CNS function, whereas emergence from anesthesia is a passive process that occurs, inversely, as anesthetic is eliminated from the CNS. If this is true, then concentrations of anesthetic in the CNS should be the same at induction and at emergence. But this is not the case.

Lab Anim. (NY) 39, 293 (2010).
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